If you”re interested in how inclusion intersects in pop culture today and were at DragonCon 2015 at 8:30PM on Saturday night, you were probably at the round table discussion “Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Contemporary Comics.” Panelists Daniel Amrhein, Kelly Sue DeConnick, John Flowers, Tini Howard, Laurenn McCubbins, Kari Storla, and Damien Williams dissected and debated the current state of comics for two and a half hours in an informative and entertaining way. From comics that have a surprising amount of representation in them (BATGIRL, LUCIFER) to how to navigate social media while nurturing your mental health, the topics were varied and in-depth.
You can get a full rundown of the panel over at the official DragonCon blog.
Perhaps the most exciting piece of information came from CAPTAIN MARVEL writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. While debating the merits of television and other visual media becoming more and more niche (does it foster diversity or create bubbles of homogeny?), Kelly Sue related her recent experience while shopping TV shows in Hollywood.
“I just did a bunch of meetings in Hollywood. Every meeting – every single one – opened with them saying they were interested in ‘complex female protagonists.” Thank you Cookie [“Empire”] and thank you Furiosa [“Mad Max Fury Road”]! When something makes money, all of the sudden there are conversations to be had and [Hollywood executives] will tell you how much they”ve been wanting to do it ‘for a long time”. They are taking pitches now. Today.”
There has been speculation from across the board as to how “Empire” and “Fury Road” would affect Hollywood, because the three constants in the universe are death, taxes, and Hollywood NEVER leaving money on the table. Now we know for sure; the conversations are happening behind closed doors. The people making decisions and shaping the landscape of entertainment have seen the future, and it looks like a diverse rainbow of cold, hard cash.
I don't mean that cynically, either. Across the board, the panelists at DragonCon agreed the best way to get noticed is to be loud and spend money. Using Captain Marvel as an example, the Carol Corps (the name of the Captain Marvel fandom) bought merchandise, bought comics, and were generally a loud, enthusiastic presence on social media. Now lo and behold, we”re getting a “Captain Marvel” movie.
So if you love something, support it. When it comes to diversity, turns out capitalism works!